May is Mental Health Awareness month.
Mental health is finally getting the attention it deserves. More and more people are understanding just how vital it is to support the health of the mind during those times when it’s not always easy to stay mentally strong. Mental health resources for teachers have been even more at the forefront in the last three years because of how the pandemic affected the lives of teachers across the globe.
It isn’t enough to spread awareness of mental health, though. People must be aware of all the avenues they have at their disposal when it gets tough to carry on. Mental health is health, and teachers deserve all the support they can get to ensure they’re well enough to perform their jobs and live meaningfully.
Because of that, we’ve rounded up several possible resources that teachers can turn to when they feel they need just a little support to get through the rougher times in life.
Apps are great resources because they are convenient, easy, and often affordable. Many apps available to teachers can be easily downloaded and used anywhere. It doesn’t matter what corner of the world you live in for most apps because they can help you regardless of your geographic zone.
One of the best apps to use if you’re looking for online counselling or therapy is BetterHelp. BetterHelp will match you with a therapist best suited to your needs and provide you with a regular schedule of sessions when you need them most. Other therapy apps include:
· Talkspace: Talkspace is like BetterHelp. However, it is the best for people who struggle with depression. Since times have changed rapidly and drastically in the last few years for educators, using a talk therapy app such as Talkspace can help you cope with those changes.
· Sanvello: Teaching can be stressful, and it’s often regarded as one of the most important things a person could do. That stress can end up hindering your overall health and your ability to show up for students how you want to. Sanvello is a great app to combat stress so that you can manage difficult emotions.
· MoodKit: MoodKit is a self-guided cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) app that can be used by people who struggle with mental health disorders and want some extra assistance in coping with and overcoming symptoms.
· Happify: With the world in disarray, it’s easy to get lost in negative thinking patterns. Happify aids in encouraging positive thinking to help people change their perspectives based on their surroundings.
You can also try meditation apps such as Calm or Headspace if you want something more self-guided. Both provide you with the opportunity to practice mindfulness and relaxation. These apps are great because you can use them with your students to bring more mindfulness to the classroom.
Books are an excellent answer for teachers who would rather feel the physical object in their hands while they seek assistance with their mental health. There are several available, each with its focus and direction. Some of the best mental health books for teachers include:
· Moment for Teachers: Self-Care for Busy Teachers – 101 Ways for Teachers to Become More Inspired, Peaceful, and Confident in 30 Seconds by Alice Langholt: This book provides tasks and activities that can be performed in real-time to help aid in mental self-care for teachers that may feel burnt out, stressed, or overwhelmed.
· First Aid for Teacher Burnout: How You Can Find Peace and Success by Jenny Grant Rankin: Everyday stressors can lead to burnout quickly for teachers. This book will provide you with actionable coping strategies to combat teacher burnout.
· See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers by Roxanna Elden: This book is a compilation of real-life stories from teachers who have faced all the same struggles that come with being a professional educator. The book contains anecdotes from teachers that have faced mental adversity in their careers, alongside strategies and coping tips for those who may be going through the same thing.
Each book allows teachers to connect to others who share the same experiences and learn new and viable ways to cope with the high demands of being an educator.
Podcasts are popular because they are a convenient and low-stress way to stay updated on different topics. There is a podcast for everything these days, and as many people know, everyone and their cousin seems to be starting their own online radio talk show. While podcasts are excellent in their own right, listening to ones that can benefit your mental health will encourage better stress coping mechanisms and a sounder mind. Some of the best podcasts for mental health include:
· The Cult of Pedagogy: Veteran educator Jennifer Gonzalez touches on various aspects of education and the professions that ensure the system is running optimally. Through insight sharing and advice, teachers gain new clarity and perspectives simply by listening.
· HMH Learning Moments: Educational Content Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt dedicates this podcast to speaking to real teachers who share their own stories and innovative ways of handling the stressful aspects of teaching.
· Teachers’ Aid: Hosts Jon Harper and Mandy Froehlich focus on emotional support for educators. They do this through honest and inspirational discussions surrounding the impacts teaching can have on a person’s mental health.
· The Teacher Self-Care Podcast: Franchesca Warren, founder of The Educator’s Room, started this podcast hoping that sharing different ideas for self-care from educators could help others cope with the everyday life stressors that go hand-in-hand with teaching.
· Truth for Teachers: This podcast, hosted by veteran educator Angela Watson, touches on various subjects to help teachers with work-life balance, personality differences in the classroom, and resilience while teaching.
Utilizing a podcast for mental health is a great way to learn new strategies to deal with mental health struggles as a teacher while also being convenient.
Support groups are a great way to connect with people experiencing similar life struggles. By joining a support group, teachers can expand their perspectives and feel less alone in their careers. Some of the best support groups available for educators include:
· Happy Teacher Revolution: This educator network provides a safe and helpful place for teachers to turn to when they want to speak to others in the same boat. The group focuses heavily on promoting wellness.
· NCTE Member Gathering, National Council of Teachers of English: This support group meets weekly and aims to help people share ideas on coping with the world of teaching while offering support to those struggling.
· Teach for American Network Slack Channel: The virtual support group is home to TFA members. It offers a weekly check-in for educators that may need to connect more often with people to vent, share solutions, and support one another.
· Teaching with Mental Health in Mind: This Facebook group provides educators with an online support system available 24/7.
Building better mental health
Planting the seeds with mental health resources, regardless of your chosen medium, can be a great way to keep balance in your life as you change and grow as an educator. Mental health is health, and now that it is acknowledged more openly, there is no time like the present to get the assistance you need to be the best educator you can be.